Advocacy Visit To FCT Public Complaints Commission.



CRH paid an advocacy visit to Public Complaints Commission (PCC) on the 4th of May 2016 at 11am. The CRH team consisting of Udeme Peter-Ijeh, Chizo Goudjo and Adeyemo Bolanle A were well received by Mrs Amuchie Cecelia .O and Honourable Commissioner of the commission Danladi Etsu Zhin.


The objective of the visit is for CRH to explain further on the project’s objectives, to know the functions of PCC in regards to patients’ right violation in public hospital settings, cases they have handled in the past, to know the redress pathways and guidelines in place to seek redress in case of violation or negligence of health workers and requesting the commissioner of PCC to grant an interview in which he will give broad explanation of the responsibilities of the commission in protecting patients’ rights.


Mrs. Udeme Peter-Ijeh Started by talking about Center for the right to health (CRH), what the organization stands for and the various project activities they have implemented over the years. She then passionately discussed “Accountability for patients’ rights and respectful maternity care in Nigeria”. What brought about the project and how the executive director conceived the project after being of negligence and violation and how a lot of people especially women of reproductive age have died as a result of patients’ right violation in our hospitals. She explained the two major deliverables of the project, the challenges experienced in the implementation of the project from the delay in ethical approval and the bureaucratic nature of the ministries or government agencies.

She also explained that the organization has started getting compelling stories from people and various questions have been asked by people  on where to go to when they suffer violation, at what point does a victim report to agencies like PCC, National Human Right Commission and Police etc. or seek litigation. She then requested the commission to grant us interview that will form part of our 30 minutes documentary in which they will help share light on redress pathways when someone experience patients’ right violation or negligence because a lot of people are not even aware of the commission.

Mrs Amuchie Cecelia .O who is a senior staff of the commission said the PCC does not handle any health related issues; rather they focus mainly on maladministration and social injustice. However, issues relating to health are always being referred to bodies that regulate affairs of health workers in the FCT. Yinka tried to explain the general responsibilities of PCC to her and how the commission is supposed to be at the forefront to entertain complaints from patients who have experienced violation in public hospital settings. At that point the commissioner interjected by given a scenario in which local farmer goes to the hospital to seek treatment and was treated unfairly because he was looking dirty or being an illiterate, where does such person/victim report to or can the commission entertain such complaints if the victim report such case to the commission?. She then now retrieved her previous statement by acknowledging that the commission can accept health cases, but still refute cases of violation or negligence in our public hospitals.

The commissioner emphasized the facts that cases of violation happens a lot especially at the grassroot level giving an instance of when he was the chairman of Kuje Area Council in which health workers in Kuje general hospital maltreat villagers, illegally detained patients when they couldn’t pay their bills and how he regularly give money to hospital management to offset bills of patients that couldn’t pay. Infact, he said some of the villagers resorted to not going to the general hospitals, but rather stay at home or go Primary Health Care centres (PHC) where they don’t have enough good hands to handle complex cases. So he reiterated that the commission can handle any cases of violation or negligence in the hand of public health workers, he said the major challenge is that the people are not aware of the function of the commission and where they can report to whenever they face any case of violation in our public hospitals. 

The Commissioner accepted to participate in the interview, but he said as a government agency they are not expected to speak to the public without any form of approval. He then requested that we present the evidence of approval letter (ethical approval) and to know if we are being allowed to interview public servants.

Mrs Udeme assured the commissioner that we will send a copy of the approved letter and a copy of the interview guide to the commission so as to conduct the interview. The commissioner said they are ready to work with us as soon as we have those documents in place and the e mail of the liaison person in the commission was collected.

Mrs Udeme gave the vote of thanks and commended the commission for their hospitality and there was exchange of advocacy materials between the organizations. Nonetheless, Mrs Amuchie Cecelia asked that if patient detention is an abuse. Mrs Udeme replied that it is a violation of patients’ right that it is stipulated in the National Health Act, that patients shouldn’t be illegally detained even when they cannot pay their bills. Yinka talked about what the national hospital representative that was interviewed in the past about detention of patients who said that the hospital management does not detain patients and chizo further explain the procedure in place at the National hospital which hospital PRO talked about.

Mrs Amuchie Cecelia asked if our focus is only on public hospitals in the state but we said we are also working with the private hospitals association body in the state that we are not restricted to just government hospitals. We are planning to know how the private hospital association body regulate the activities of her members and are there any forms of punishments meted to members in case they violate the right of their patients. She claimed most complaints she has heard are from the private hospitals. We told her that we are working with both private and public owned hospitals.

They also raised issues on National Health Insurance Scheme program in which people are regularly being discriminated against and how sub-standard drugs are being dispensed to clients. Mrs Udeme said the NHIS are also part of the organization we will be interviewing and we would be asking them some of these questions.

Pleasantries exchanged at the end of the meeting

The meeting ended


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